Sneak Preview: The 2013 AFI Latin American Film Festival

Coming to the AFI Silver Theatre September 19 – October 9

The AFI Latin American Film Festival is one of the largest and longest-running Latin American film festivals in North America.

Now in its 24th year, the Festival showcases the best filmmaking from Latin America and celebrates Ibero-American cultural connections through the inclusion of films from Spain and Portugal.

This year’s festival will be held September 19 – October 9, beginning during National Hispanic Heritage Month, at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD.

The 2012 edition of the festival welcomed over 10,000 guests to see 50 films from 20 different countries and events hosted by the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Embassy of Spain, the Embassy of Peru and the Embassy of the Dominican Republic.  This year’s festival promises an equally broad and exciting slate of films.

The following – in alphabetical order — is a preview of just some of the films included in the 2013 festival:



Alfredo Soderguit, Uruguay

An adorable and heart-warming animated film for the whole family. A young girl with a triple palindrome name, Anina Yatay Salas, must endure a weeklong suspension after a schoolyard fight, and ultimately learn a lesson in friendship and acceptance. Best Colombian Film and Director, 2013 Cartagena Film Festival; Audience Award, International Official Selection, 2013 BAFICI Film Festival; Official Selection, 2013 Berlin Film Festival.


THE BODY [El cuerpo]

Oriol Paulo, Spain

A tense thriller that keeps viewers guessing until the final minute. From the producers of THE ORPHANAGE and starring Belén Rueda.



Omar Forero, Peru

A charming story about a fresh-faced elementary school teacher sent to a remote school in the Andes mountains. Best Peruvian Film, 2012 Lima Film Festival.


THE CLEANER [El limpiador]

Adrian Saba, Peru

A gentle apocalyptic drama about a forensic cleaner who reluctantly takes in a young orphan in the midst of a deadly epidemic. New Voices/New Visions Grand Jury Prize, 2013 Palm Springs Film Festival. Official Selection, 2012 San Sebastian Film Festival; 2013 San Francisco, Karlovy Vary Film Festivals.


THE DEAD MAN AND BEING HAPPY [El muerto y ser feliz]

Javier Rebollo, Argentina

A screwball road movie about a cancer-stricken hitman. Best Actor, 2013 Goya Awards. Official Selection, 2012 San Sebastian, New York Film Festivals; 2013 Rotterdam, Karlovy Vary Film Festivals.


DUST [Polvo]

Julio Hernández Cordón, Guatemala

A powerful drama about a couple making a documentary in a village of indigenous people in Guatemala’s back country, and the villagers’ recollections of the conflict and subsequent disappearances of their family members in 1982. Official Selection, 2012 Locarno, Toronto Film Festivals; 2013 Miami Film Festival.



Iván Wild, Colombia

A black comedy about a decaying building in Colombia and its Tom Cruise-obsessed residents. Official Selection, Cartagena and Miami Film Festivals.


THE FUTURE [Il futuro]

Alicia Scherson, Chile

A Rome-set story about two teen siblings, newly orphaned, and the dangers of sudden adulthood. Directed by Alicia Scherson (PLAY, TURISTAS) and adapted from a novel by acclaimed author Roberto Bolaño. Featuring Rutger Hauer. Official Selection, 2013 Sundance, Rotterdam Film Festivals.


A GUN IN EACH HAND [Una pistola en cada mano]

Cesc Gay, Spain

A series of comedic, interconnected vignettes about the misadventures of a group of fortysomething men, featuring a star-studded cast including Ricardo Darín, Javier Cámara and Luis Tosar. Official Selection, 2012 Rome Film Festival; 2013 Miami, Seattle Film Festivals.


HOLD-UP! [¡Atraco!]

Eduard Cortés, Spain

A rollicking caper about the stranger-than-fiction staged robbery of Eva Perón’s jewels in 1950s Madrid.



Carlos Lechuga, Cuba

A young couple struggles to get by when their village sugar mill is shut down. Official Selection, 2012 Havana, 2013 Rotterdam and Miami Film Festivals. Biznada de Plata Award, 2013 Malaga Film Festival.


NO AUTUMN, NO SPRING [Sin otoño, sin primavera]

Iván Mora Manzano, Ecuador

A punk ballad, this kaleidoscopic film explores the lives, loves and losses of Guayaquil City youths. Official Selection, 2013 Miami Film Festival.


ONCE UPON A TIME IN BOLIVIA [Erase una vez en Bolvia]

Patrick Cordova, Bolivia

A micro-budget road movie set against the backdrop of the 2003 Bolivian gas conflict. Best International Feature, 2013 London Independent Film Festival.


RIO 2096: A STORY OF LOVE AND FURY [Rio 2096: Uma História de Amor e Fúria]

Luiz Bolognesi, Brazil

A striking, visionary animated film, exploring 600 years of Brazilian history through the eyes of a single character reincarnated across the centuries. Best Feature, 2013 Annecy Animation Film Festival.


SO MUCH WATER [Tanta agua]

Ana Guevara, Leticia Jorge, Uruguay

A 14-year old is forced to spend time with her family when a rainstorm ruins their vacation. Grand Prix and Best Screenplay, 2013 Miami Film Festival; Best First Feature Award, 2013 Guadalajara Film Festival.



Andrés Burgos, Colombia

A gentle comedy starring Almodóvar favorite Carmen Maura (WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, VOLVER) as a long-suffering married woman who decides to strike out on her own and have an adventure.



Carlos Quintela, Cuba

A day in the life of a public swimming pool in Cuba where five disabled teens take swimming lessons. Best First Film, 2013 Miami, Havana Film Festivals.


THESIS ON A HOMICIDE [Tesis sobre un homicidio]

Hernán Goldfrid, Argentina

A twist-filled thriller starring Ricardo Darín (THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, CARANCHO, NINE QUEENS). Official Selection, 2013 Miami Film Festival.



Marcelo Lordello, Brazil

“If you two don’t stop fighting, I’m going to pull this car over and leave you by the side of the road.” Cris and her brother don’t, and their parents do. A modern fable about independence and identity set in rugged northwestern Brazil. Official Selection, 2013 Rotterdam, San Francisco Film Festivals.



Matías Piñero, Argentina

A spritely adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” set among contemporary Buenos Aires hipsters. Official Selection, 2012 Toronto Film Festival; 2013 New Directors/New Films, Berlin Film Festival.




The 2012 festival included 50 titles from 20 different countries, all Washington, DC premieres.  Among the highlights were:


2012 Opening Night Film, FILLY BROWN with directors Youssef Delara and Michael D. Olmos and actor Lou Diamond Phillips.

Argentina’s 2013 Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, CLANDESTINE CHILDHOOD.

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, HERE ARE THERE with filmmaker Antonio Méndez Esparza in attendance.

Mexico’s festival favorite, A SECRET WORLD (Un mundo secreto) with filmmaker Gabriel Mariño.

Brazil’s BEL BORBA AQUI with filmmaker Burt Sun and artist/Subject Bel Borba.


Portugal’s 2012 Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film, BLOOD OF MY BLOOD (Sangue do meu sangue).


Chile’s 2012 Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film, VIOLETA WENT TO HEAVEN (Violeta se fue a los cielos).


Guatemala’s LA CAMIONETA: THE JOURNEY OF ONE AMERICAN SCHOOL BUS with filmmaker Mark Kendal.


Uruguay’s 2013 Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film, THE DELAY (La demora).




Past Festival Guests

Actress Zoe Saldaña (AVATAR, COLUMBIANA) with THE CURSE OF FATHER CARDONA, from the Dominican Republic.

Director Gerardo Narango with MISS BALA, from Mexico

Screenwriter Ligiah Villalobos with UNDER THE SAME MOON, from Mexico.

Actor Manolo Cardona, with ROSARIO TIJERAS, from Colombia.

Writer/Director Alberto Fuguet and producer Diego Valenzuela, with FOR RENT, from Chile.

Actress Dira Paes, with THE TWO SONS OF FRANCISCO, from Brazil.

Director Pablo Larrain, with FUGUE, from Chile.

Director Sergio Cabrera with THE ART OF LOSING and THE STRATEGY OF THE SNAIL, from Colombia.

Actor Lazaro Ramos with THE MAN WHO COPIED, from Brazil.

Director Alex Rivera at the screening of SLEEP DEALER, the festival’s Opening Night selection.

Actress Angelica Blandon at the screening of PARAISO TRAVEL.

Actress Maria Deschamps with I’M GONNA EXPLODE (Voy a Explotar), Opening Night of the 2010 Latin American Film Festival.

Director Mikhail Kosyrev-Nesterov with OCEAN.


Mexico’s Guillermo Arriaga (Screenwriter, BABEL, 21 GRAMS, AMORES PERROS) attended AFI for a special screening of AMORES PERROS.


AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is a unique film and video exhibition space offering a richly eclectic program of first-run films, repertory cinema, film festivals and live events. Presented on three screens, 365 days a year, the AFI Silver connects the diverse regional audience of greater Washington, DC with the best cinema from around the world, in a state-of-the-art screening environment.


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